In the previous chapter Paul has explained that Israel as a race had refused to accept that salvation for them could only be found in Jesus. An inevitable question that would be asked in response was whether this meant that God had rejected the Israelites as a race. Paul says that he has not and gives three answers to the question.
The first answer is that Paul’s own experience as a converted Jew reveals that God has not cast away his people (vv. 1-2). His second answer is a historical one when he refers to the life of Elijah and says that during that period God had seven thousand followers (vv. 3-4). His third answer concerns the future when Israel as a race will be gathered in to God’s people (vv. 11ff.).
There are many comments that could be made about Paul’s explanation, but here are two that we can think about today. The first is that we cannot judge a person’s future by his current conduct. After all, if we had seen Saul of Tarsus attempting to destroy the Christian church we would not have imagined that in the future he would decide to follow Jesus. But he did, and here he was writing this letter and using his own experience as evidence that God was still saving Jews.
The second comment is that God can preserve his cause in the darkest of times, which was obviously the case in the days of Elijah. It looked as if the whole nation had given up on God and were more interested in following a false god called Baal. Even Elijah thought that, but God told him that the truth of the situation was otherwise. And we should not imagine that he is unable to defend his cause today even although it is a dark time in our country for his church.